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    I Wore A Skirt And Found A New Sense of Freedom, But The Patriarchy Lost Its Mind

    After I came out, I discovered the beauty of gender expression.

    I thought I was finally free to express myself.

    Men in skirts were once nothing special. Yet the toxic powers of the patriarchy tightened the grip on Western culture, and suddenly gender expressions like "guys in skirts" became a statement of protest and a dangerous line to cross. After I came out as bisexual, I had enough with this convention, and I crossed the line.

    There's a moment after you finally come out to the people closest to you where you feel invincible. It's brief but beautiful. That pesky padlock holding your closet door shut breaks finally, and now you are free. You're free to move differently in spaces because you're no longer living for others' insecurities. The next step in my journey was my gender expression.

    I want to understand bisexuality beyond the binary.

    The binary constantly haunts me. The way I grew up, little boys should be wary of even wearing a shade of purple. I was taught boys like girls, girls wear dresses, and I should be interested in sports like football. It's dangerous to detour this ideology in a conservative city like my hometown of Bakersfield, California. None of this made sense to me since I found myself attracted to boys and girls at a very young age. I think nothing rests in the middle of any circumstance, including my sexuality. How I define my attraction and sexuality is my business. I feel the same about my gender expression. Kids shouldn't have to choose between monster trucks or baby dolls. Adults shouldn't have to decide to wear pleated pants or a pleated skirt. Besides, in what world is forcing your kid to play with muscle-bound G.I. Joes in tight uniforms going to make him straighter?

    Bisexuality is the romantic or sexual attraction toward males, females, or more than one gender. It includes attraction to people regardless of their sex or gender identity. But different people define it in many ways.

    Gender expression is how someone expresses their gender identity through their attitude, appearance, or dress.

    What inspired me to put on the skirt?

    Harry Styles performing onstage while dressed like Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz

    This moment changed everything for me.

    The time I tried to break the binary and broke down.

    When I received this response from someone close, I knew this struggle was just the beginning.

    What's so wrong with a Black man in a dress?

    Why did it matter that I was a bisexual, Black man in a skirt? Personally, the skirt changed nothing about my sexuality or gender identity. If anything, it was a protest of my power.

    Haters are going to hate. Live your truth.

    Nothing can stop me — my skirt is all the way up!